top of page
  • natalia0859

How to Manage Money While Travelling as a Couple

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission when you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.]


One Simple Tool That Transformed Our Holiday Finances

Managing money while travelling can be difficult. Flights and accommodation are strong punches to the bank account, but relatively easily forgotten. Once they slip away into the unseen part of your statement, the holiday can seem set in stone, paid off, in need of no further budgeting. Then, the bubble pops as you realise you still have to feed and entertain yourself, pay for public transport, and generally survive for two weeks in a country you’ve never been before, with no safety net if you run out of money. Well, apart from maybe tearfully asking a relative to transfer you cash so you can pay for a taxi to the airport. Always a classy move.

For many of us who are busy trying to make ends meet, travel is still a great luxury. That said, I firmly believe that investing in it is worth it. Taking a break from everyday stress, expanding your views on life by seeing how others live theirs, and getting a chance to see the beauty of the world outside of your immediate environment — these are the things that make travel worth the costs in my books. Getting to experience all this with a partner can make it all the more worthwhile.

Travelling as a couple

For me at least, one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of being in a relationship is travelling together. Not only does it bring you closer to your partner through shared memories and experiences and show you a clearer picture of each other’s worldview, but it also forces you to take on challenges you wouldn’t otherwise have to face in the comforts of home. When my long-term boyfriend Aidan and I started travelling together early on in our relationship, we knew that managing our finances was one of those challenges.

Aidan and I went on our first proper holiday together a couple of months after we started dating. We were on a strict student budget. I had started working part-time at a coffee shop just two months earlier, and he was finishing up a summer job at a language school. Despite our slim funds, we were determined to travel together at the end of that summer, and even more determined to pay for it all ourselves. So, we took the leap and booked flights and accommodation for a week in Valencia, knowing we would have to save pretty much all our earnings in order to afford it.

Spending the spending money

Once we got there, we quickly realised that money was disappearing at an alarming rate. Not having a kitchen at our hotel meant that we had to eat every meal out. We often got caught in overpriced tourist trap restaurants, hangry and willing to spend. Little transactions quickly added up, and we struggled to keep track of whose turn it was to pay for dinner. We both ended up coming home completely broke, unable to go for lunch or even a coffee for the next few weeks while we waited impatiently for the next paychecks to come in.

It is difficult enough to keep track of holiday spending money on your own. It’s double the difficulty when travelling as a couple, spending twice as much on everything. Add to that the general awkwardness of early stages in a relationship, and you have a pretty reliable recipe for trouble.

Young as we were, excited to be together and completely in love with the city of Valencia, we didn’t give these financial matters much thought on our first holiday. Over the years though, we realised we needed a better system to split costs fairly and stick to our budget while travelling.

Who’s paying this time?

Money can be an uncertain grey area for new couples. We come into a relationship armed with pre-programmed attitudes about money, our general tendencies to splurge, save or invest. We pick them up along the way from our family and our past and current financial situations.

From the very first date, we establish shared money attitudes. For example, there’s a lot to say about the simple decision about whether one of the partners is going to pay for dinner, or if splitting the bill is the best option. If your partner shares your money attitudes from the beginning, it can communication about money a lot easier down the line. That being said, partners can learn a lot from each other’s money habits and attitudes, and develop a shared strategy.

In our case, Aidan and I knew from the very beginning that we wanted to split costs as evenly as possible for everything — from the coffees we shared on our very first date. It seemed like the fairest option, since we were in similar financial situations. When we started travelling together, we brought this approach to money matters along with us.

Despite our best intentions, it was notoriously difficult to split bills or find a middle ground on our first trips together. We tackled the big spending well — one of us paid for accommodation, the other for flights. But when it came to the smaller transactions, like museum tickets or beach loungers, we tiptoed around the issue. More often than not, whoever had cash on hand would pay.

This strategy worked for us for a while — but in the interest of fairness, accuracy and peace of mind, we decided to try a new option.

Just us at the Sky Garden on our city break in London — splitting the cost of overpriced cocktails using our Revolut card, of course!

A middle ground

As we were planning a city break to London at the beginning of summer, we decided to try something new. We had both been tinkering around with the idea of getting Revolut accounts for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity.

For those unfamiliar, Revolut is a prepaid card and app that can be used for all sorts of everyday personal finance. You can open an account on your phone, get your debit card in the post a few days later, and top it up with funds from your bank account whenever you like. Everything is done directly in the app itself, so it’s very handy for when you’re on the go. It’s also got a bunch of useful features that allow you to track your spending, securely pay online, and save for particular goals.

Revolut appealed to me personally because as everyone who knows me will attest, I am a big fan of analytics and stats. I’ve kept a regular expenditure tracker in my bullet journal for about three years now, and I love knowing where all my money is going. I’ve also been a lot more conscious lately of needing to save money for big future goals down the line. Because of that, I have tried to limit my spending, particularly in known problem areas (I’m looking at you, expensive brunches). The idea of having a handy tool on my phone that tracks and categorises my spending and allows me to set budgets was definitely enticing.

While researching Revolut, I realised that it was the perfect tool to use for travel, not only solo but as a couple as well. Here are a few of the reasons why.

Perks of using Revolut while travelling

  1. It’s free. Once you sign up, you get your Visa card for free. There are no hidden costs or bank fees — perfect if you want to try it out and see if it works for you!

  2. You can send and receive money instantly. Whether you are splitting a bill with friends or helping a friend out in a sticky situation, you can instantly transfer money to any fellow Revolut user. This is precisely how Aidan and I split all of our costs on holidays — we use one Revolut account with equal amounts transferred to it!

  3. It works on a top up basis. You can add as little or as much money to your account as you need. If you suddenly run low, you can top up directly from your bank account to your Revolut account. This is especially handy when you want to evenly split costs with your partner. All you have to do is top up equal amounts when the credit runs low!

  4. It works on a real exchange rate. Because Revolut operates on a live exchange rate, you don’t end up getting ripped off by using your card abroad. No more withdrawing crazy amounts of cash and exchanging it for a poor return at the local currency exchange. This was very useful for us while using Sterling while in London, and Złoty while in Poland.

  5. You see real time spending analytics. You can see exactly where your money is going by looking at the Analytics tab in the Revolut app. All your spending is neatly organised into categories like Restaurants, Transport, Groceries, Shopping and Health. This makes it very easy to total up the true costs of a trip abroad, and use this information while budgeting for future holidays. For example, I had no idea how expensive London transport would be until I saw that we had spent £200 on trains and transfers in the space of four days!

  1. It’s an added layer of security. I feel a lot safer travelling with Revolut, as it gives me the option of leaving my bank card and wallet while I go out for the night. Also, I’m no longer afraid that my bank card will get eaten by a dodgy ATM, cutting me off from my funds. There are lots of additional security features. Whenever you make a transaction with your Revolut card, you instantly get a notification on your phone. You can also freeze the card instantly from your app if it goes missing or is stolen. The app itself is fingerprint protected, so even if your phone is stolen, your Revolut account is unlikely to be compromised.

  2. It’s a lot cheaper. Unlike a bank account, there are no transaction fees on Revolut. You can also make free ATM withdrawals for the first €200. As these fees can mount up pretty quickly while abroad, this is a huge bonus.

  3. You can use it to make online purchases. This is very useful when you have to buy something from an unfamiliar website where PayPal is not an option. When travelling, I always find myself booking a lot of museum tickets and coach transfers through local websites that I don’t necessarily know or trust. Revolut is very handy for keeping track of these payments. It’s worth mentioning that the Premium plan includes disposable card numbers for online purchases. This means you never have to use the same card number twice, making it a very secure payment option.

  4. You can get insurance with it! This is a gamechanger — phone insurance and travel insurance are such staples when going on a trip, though I definitely used to overlook them until I got my phone stolen on a trip to Amsterdam. Revolut happens to offer both, either as an add-on, or as part of the Premium plan.

  5. You can save money through the Vaults feature. This can be either individual, or shared with a friend or partner. Revolut will simply round all your transactions up by as much as you choose, and put the remainder in a Vault. You can set goals for your Vaults, for example saving for your next weekend city break.

  6. Cryptocurrency — if you’re into that sort of thing.

How we split every cost evenly while travelling using Revolut

Now that you’ve heard all the benefits that drew us into using Revolut (and there really are a lot of them!) here is a short breakdown of how Aidan and I have been using it to manage money while travelling.

First, we both applied for Revolut. It’s a pretty painless process — you just need to take a selfie and a picture of a government-issued ID, such as a passport. Then you connect it to your bank account so you can top up the Revolut account. The card itself comes in the post within a week or two. For this reason, you might not want to wait till the last minute before you travel to get the app.

When we were heading off to London together, we made a rough budget of how much we expected to spend on our trip. Then, we both topped up one account with an equal amount of money that we had budgeted. We used one card to pay for all of our purchases during the trip. Oyster cards, restaurant bills, train tickets, fancy cocktails — everything was neatly split in half and categorised by the analytics function.

Unfortunately, London being outrageously expensive, our budgeted amount did not last very long. We ended up having to top the card up a few more times during the trip. Since the transfers are almost instant, this was super easy. When we returned to Dublin, we simply split the difference in half and made a transfer again. Thanks to the analytics function, we could see exactly how much we had spent, and what category had done the most damage (restaurants — it’s always restaurants). We can now use this data as a guide for future travel plans, and managing our expenses while abroad.

Is splitting costs evenly the best way to go?

For us, splitting things evenly takes a lot of the burden of holiday expenditure away. It also counters outdated expectations of the guy to pay every restaurant bill. It’s completely unrealistic, and often uncomfortable for both parties. This of course does not mean that splitting everything evenly is the best solution for every couple. It is simply what works best for us at this point in our lives.

The reason it works is because it is fair. There is no more awkwardness about money, as if a whole realm of stress has been lifted away. It also teaches us to manage money together, and gives us an idea of how managing bigger expenses together in the future, such as rent and bills, will look. It’s almost like a demo of having a shared bank account, but the travel edition.

Once we used Revolut on our trip, we were hooked. I definitely don’t use it exclusively for travel now — it has become part of my everyday money management. Still, it’s especially handy while travelling.

As much as I hate to say it, not all of you reading will be able to avail of this incredible tool. Revolut currently operates in the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States. The good news is, there are plenty of online financial apps popping up all the time — you’re bound to find one that works for you.


Now, I want to know: how do you and your partner manage your finances on holidays? Do you split the bills, or does one person fork out for dinners most of the time? Leave your answers in the comments below, or over on my Instagram. And while you’re here, check out my ultimate guide to packing for holidays in a carry-on!

#travelbudgeting #summertravel #managingmoneywhiletravelling #studenttravelcouple #coupletravel #cheaptripsforcouples #revolutvsn26 #travelmoneymanagement #revolutcard #travel #revolut #affordabletravel #revolutbenefits #whygetrevolut #couplesvacations #couplefinances #budgettravel #revolutadvantages #getrevolut


Thanks for submitting!


  • Facebook
  • Instagram


No tags yet.


bottom of page